The loss of Kobe Bryant was one of the most painful in the history of sports. NBA players cried and mourned publicly and After hearing the terrible news, Barack Obama also came out to say, “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act.” Murals of Bryant with his daughter are appearing in multiple states across the U.S.
Kobe was the son of Joe Bryant who was also a former NBA player. Joe also played professionally in Italy, where he and Kobe spent part of their lives. Kobe learned Italian language and grew to love soccer. Later on, the family moved back to the States where they resided in Philadelphia and where Kobe became a star.
After retiring and playing 20 years in the NBA, Kobe Bryant’s legacy off the court was just getting started. Kobe was selected in the 1996 NBA draft by the Hornets who then traded him to the Lakers that same night where he went on to win three NBA Finals alongside Shaquille O’Neal.
Bryant had a spectacular career over 20 seasons. Kobe was able to win an MVP, two finals MVPs, eighteen all-star selections, Olympic gold medals, a couple of scoring titles and five championship rings. Kobe ended doing more than just guarding the early legend, Michael Jordan, he became his successor in the NBA.
Kobe’s drive, work ethic and intensity would help coin the term Mamba Mentality. Bryant had the uncommon mix of world-class ability and mysterious fire seen distinctly in the genuine greats. While speaking with Evan Young during an interview, he went on to talk about Kobes work ethic stating “Kobe was always working, first one in the gym and last one to leave. He dedicated his entire life to his craft and being successful and that’s the type of attitude I take with me as I play Football games.”
Kobe played like he was fighting for his life on every play and with no effort. In 2016, Bryant resigned after racking up 33,643 points, making him third on the NBA scoring list. On Jan. 25th, 2020, Kobe would be moved down to fourth as Lebron James moved forward to third on the all-time scoring list.
The day after, tragedy struck. We would learn from TMZ that the helicopter he was taking to Gianna’s ball game slammed in the slopes close to Calabasas, California. The helicopter was holding nine passengers, including Bryant and Gianna, who have all faced a tragic end. Kobe made the choice to preferably travel by helicopter to avoid traffic in Los Angeles and give him more time with his family. Investigations into why the crash happened are still underway, although it was reported by the National Transportation Safety Board that the helicopter was missing a terrain-warning system that could have warned the pilot.
During an interview with Quadre Jackson, He said: “I cried when I heard the news, we lost a legend.”
Although this incident didn’t happen during Bryant’s prime of his basketball career, he was starting a legacy off the court that made him more prominent than many active players. Kobe had created an animated short film “Dear Basketball” that won an Oscar, launched a production company, and opened up a sports academy. Gregory Marsh, a DSU student stated, “I absolutely believed he was just getting started, he won his first Oscar almost instantly after he retired, he was working and I know he had grand plans.”
Another student, Damien Williams, said “Dear Basketball was great, it was emotional but also uplifting. Kobe gave us the story of his life, explained the passion he felt and the pain he endured for the game. It’s motivational if I must say so myself.”
Bryant embraced his new life. Instead of heading into entertainment, he committed effort to the youth and to his venture capital firm. Kobe also started a musical podcast for kids and coached his daughters’ basketball team. He became an advocate for women’s sports and started making regular appearances to WNBA, women’s national soccer, gymnastic meets, and more.